KAKINADA: The traditional Ugadi celebrations remained muted in Godavari districts because of the surging cases of Covid-19 disease.
The state government used to celebrate Ugadi as an official festival by arranging Panchanga Sravanam (citation of the Telugu new almanac calendar) programme, recitation of poetry and other cultural activities.
The government could not celebrate the festival officially due to covid-19 lockdown last year. This year also the Ugadi celebrations were low-profile and officials did not take up any culture programmes due to the second wave of Covid-19 scare.
Though there was no lockdown this year, the state culture department has not given permission or issued any instructions to the district administrations to hold the festival. Many poets and artists who were eagerly waiting for the fete to prove their talent and also receive awards, were disappointed.
Sources, however, said the shortage of funds at the culture department is another reason for the muted celebrations.
“We welcome the government’s decision to suspend the official celebration of traditional festivals like “Ugadi’’ to prevent gathering at one place. But the government did not ban other programmes which led to overcrowding. For example, the government has held felicitation functions to volunteers, which was attended by thousands of people. Many of the programmes such as agitations, processions and others are being allowed. Such acts have led to many doubts that the government was intentionally trying to suppress the Hindu festivals’’, said Chinta Gopi Sarma Siddanti, an almanac writer and also Bhuvaneswari Peetham chief at Peddapuram.
He said that all Hindus abide by the government actions to curb the virus but at the same time, the government should give equal importance to Hindu festivals.
Even in villages also there were drastic changes in celebrating the festival. Every Ugadi day, the farmers used to begin ploughing their lands early hours as per suggestions given by the astrologers. But, for the past few years, the farmers did not do it due to mechanisation in agriculture.
The tilling of the lands with bullocks have almost disappeared and also traditional forms of entertainment are also gradually vanishing from the villages.
In this Ugadi festival, there was an acute shortage of “Neem flower’’ which is very important for “Ugadi pachadi’’ as the flowering stage has almost ended and a limited quantity of “Neem Flower’’ is available to the people and there was great demand for it....